Standard / Alternative Vegetation Management Practices


Standard Practices

Vegetation maintenance is scheduled  on a rotating basis to maintain clear rights-of-way. The cost of to do so is allocated across all members through electric rates. The following best management practices are overseen by certified arborists and work is performed by professional contractors.

In-yard landscape

“Yard” trees in the home landscape (those existing within a mowed lawn) will be pruned to provide required clearance from electric lines until maintenance is scheduled again. Some tree species are simply incompatible near conductors because of their rapid growth characteristics and are selected for removal. The wood is left on site and branches are chipped.

Beyond the landscape

Establishment of a corridor that is 40 feet wide or more is achieved through manual or mechanical tree and brush removal. Ongoing management of regenerating brush is accomplished with herbicide treatments made by certified, professional applicators. The objective is to maintain a clear right-of-way with only low-growing vegetation, such as grasses and wildflowers. This will allow access for line maintenance and outage restorations and will also avoid tree-line contacts. Trees growing outside of the corridor that are dead, diseased, defective or leaning and could contact the primary lines if they fell are removed on a periodic basis. Debris from all clearing work outside of home landscapes is left on the edge of the corridor. In some cases, chips or mulch will be scattered throughout the corridor.

Alternatives to Standard Practices

Occasionally a member asks for a variance to the Standard Practices. Because of the escalating costs of tree work, costs for variances must be passed on to the individual member.

Alternate maintenance fee

Herbicide treatment provides the best overall control and cost benefit to our members. The majority of members support this maintenance, however, we understand some may not. Todd-Wadena will arrange alternate services and the member pays for the difference in cost.

Self maintenance

When a member prefers to control regenerating brush by doing their own cutting or mowing, a written agreement is required before the variance is approved. All brush and trees must be kept under 10 feet in height in yards and under 20 feet elsewhere.


Sometimes a property owner has planted incompatible tree seedlings in the power line corridor. If requested, Todd-Wadena will delay vegetation management to allow the property owner time to transplant small trees (under 10 feet in height) to a different location.

Line Relocation

In some instances a line may be relocated with an underground installation to avoid some tree clearing. However, this is not always feasible from an engineering standpoint and it is costly and must be paid for by the member. Damage to nearby tree roots from installing cable may cause trees to die over a period time so it does not always accomplish the objective.